Healthy Changes to School Lunch!

The new school year means new changes for students and this also means changes to school lunch.  Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids act, schools are now required to serve a wide-variety of colorful vegetables each week and students must now be offered a fresh, frozen, dried, or canned (in juice) fruit for lunch.  Additionally, in order for a lunch meal to be reimbursable, each tray will need to include at least ½ cup of fruits and/or vegetables. The new standards require that at least half of all grains served in school lunch must now be whole grain rich (starting in 2014 all grain products must be whole grain rich).  And under new USDA guidance, schools must offer two varieties of milk: unflavored milk can be non-fat or 1%, while flavored milk must be non-fat. A few other changes include calorie ranges for three grade groupings (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12) and minimum and maximum servings per week for both grains and meat/meat alternates (cheese, beans, etc.) for each of the grade groupings.
These are the first major changes to school meals in 15 years and these change will help us raise a healthier generation of children.

Not sure if you qualify for free or reduced lunch? Please visit to apply. Or Stop by your local school to fill out an application.

Cure that Olympic fever.

What is it about the Olympics that make us feel like we want to go run around a track, swim a few laps or ride a bike really fast wearing spandex??  Never has physical exhaustion ever seemed so appealing. Watching the games makes you want to be right out there doing the same activity even if you have never done it before. Perhaps you were inspired watching the games to start something new or pick up an old forgotten sport. There is nothing better than being part of a team and working together to achieve a goal. Often times as we get older we don’t have many opportunities to do this.  Look no further as we have included below some information on local adult sport leagues here in the Valley.  No more having to dream about being a dream team star, sign up for a local league!

Clark County adult league information for volleyball, basketball, softball and flag football  go to this link:
City of Las Vegas adult league information for volleyball and softball  go to this link.
Henderson adult league information for softball, basketball, flag football, kickball, soccer, ultimate frisbee go to this link.
North Las Vegas league information can be found on this link:


Soda Free Summer….two weeks to go!

Whether you call it pop, soda, cola, Coke, soda-pop, or carbonated beverage, for about half of U.S. adults, it is a daily drink.

A new Gallup poll finds that 48 percent of U.S. adults say they drink at least one glass of soda a day. Among those who drink soda, the average amount consumed is 2.6 glasses a day, the poll found. Soda consumption was higher among young adults, with 56 percent of 18 to 34 year olds reporting they drink at least one glass of soda per day, compared with 46 percent of people ages 35 to 54.
Are you in that 48%??  Check out an earlier blog post “Tips to wean off the Fizzy Stuff” for ways to help you kick the habit!

The results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of about 1,000 U.S. adults, conducted between July 9 and 12. The findings are weighed so they are nationally representative.

What is interval training ?

Are you ready to shake up your workout? Do you wish you could burn more calories without spending more time at the gym? Consider aerobic interval training. Once the domain of elite athletes, interval training has become a powerful tool for the average exerciser, too.

What is interval training?
It’s not as complicated as you might think. Interval training is simply alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity.
Take walking. If you’re in good shape, you might incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you’re less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. For example, if you’re walking outdoors, you could walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.

What can interval training do for me? 

Whether you’re a novice exerciser or you’ve been exercising for years, interval training can help you jazz up your workout routine. Consider the benefits:
•You’ll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
•You’ll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity. Imagine finishing your 60-minute walk in 45 minutes — or the additional calories you’ll burn by keeping up the pace for the full 60 minutes.
•You’ll keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
•You don’t need special equipment. You can simply modify your current routine.

This information was provided by the Mayo Clinic.

Juice vs Soda

When we think of juice, we think of it as a healthy alternative to soda. Even though juice is more nutritious, it contains just as much sugar as soda. The average juice box has about 23g of sugar. When very young children consume more juice, they decrease the consumption of milk, which is nutritionally more beneficial. Many parents are under the assumption that 100% juice is the best alternative to soda. However, with the added sugar, juice becomes just as bad as soda.
The sugar found in fruit juice is fructose, compared to the high-fructose corn syrup found in soda. UC Davis researcher, Kimber Stanhope states that her research shows that a diet that is filled with high levels of fructose can increase the chances of one developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  She also states that intake of sugar from both soda and fruit juice promote weight gain in equal amounts. Juice and soda are relatively modern addition to the human diet, just as obesity has started to become a health concern over the past few decades. 
Keep up the Soad Free Summer Challenge! Just a few more weeks to go!

Skinny doesn’t mean healthy. Body Composition 101

A main reason for exercise is to burn calories and lose weight. However simply standing on the scale won’t give you the total picture when it comes to achieving fitness for health. Being thin doesn’t mean you are healthy. Two people with the same height and weight can look very different because they have different body compositions. So weight alone is not a true indicator of your fitness but being aware of your body composition is equally important. Whatever your fitness goal, measuring body composition will help you track your progress, not to mention leave little doubt that all those little (and sometimes big) changes you’ve made are moving you in the right direction.
Body composition refers to the percentage of fat, muscle and bones in your body.  Weighing yourself on a scale can tell you your total weight but not the lean to fat ratio of that weight. Since you have no way of knowing if your weight comes from fat or muscle, you may consider yourself to be overweight if you are more muscular than an average person. Or you may have the right body weight but carry a lot of metabolically inactive fat tissue in your body which makes you susceptible to a number of health conditions. Body Composition is more important than weight. Weight alone doesn’t tell the whole story…and being thin doesn’t always mean healthy.

How does one assess body composition?
Body fat percentage can be estimated using many techniques, (hydrostatic weighing, DEXA, BodPod, skinfold calipers, BIA) some simple while others are more complex. A few common ways to measure your body composition include:

Skinfold Calipers: Percent body fat can be estimated by using calipers to measure skinfold thickness at various body sites on the body. This technique is fairly quick and can be accurate. However, it is important to find a trained technician to make the measurements. If the measurements are not taken correctly or an incorrect formula is applied, errors can occur.

BOD POD: A fairly new and “high-tech” approach to assessment of body composition is the BOD POD. These fiberglass units are designed to measure body weight and body volume (i.e., the body’s total size). Because fat is less dense than lean tissue, the weight-to-volume ratio can be used to predict percent body fat. These are machines can be costly to use and may not be the easiest to access.

BIA: Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis is the technique that is frequently used by people. The principle behind this technique is that by measuring how easily currents move through the body, body fat can be estimated. Currents pass easily through muscle tissue (which contains a large amount of fluid), but it travels slowly as it passes through fat tissue. There are a variety of BIA devices available for purchase on the market and all use the same basic principles to determine body fat. Some are hand held devices and others may be a scale version. Some popular brands include Omron and Tanita. These may not be as precise as other more technical devices but they are the reliable, easy to obtain and work just fine.  Good body fat percentages for optimal health:
10-25% for males and 18-30% for females… less for athletes.
Q and A…..
Can I lose fat in one area, like my belly?
No, You can tone, but overall fat reduction needs to occur to see a slimmed down belly.
What are the best exercises to burn fat?
The exercise session that allows you to burn the most calories & is enjoyable
-high intensity, short duration
-moderate intensity, longer time
Is resistance training necessary?
Yes! It helps maintain metabolic rate when cutting calories on a diet & preserves muscle mass.

Marketing of Soda to Kids

In order to build lifelong brand loyalty, Soft-drink companies spend millions to market their products to kids. And they pay some good money to do it.  In 1999, PepsiCo alone spent $1.31 billion on domestic advertising, followed by Coca-cola, spending $867 million.  Mike Adams, a former marketing executive for Coca-Cola explained that the main goal of marketing is per capita consumption. The idea is for companies to encourage more people to drink more ounces more often. The shocking part about their advertising is that their targeted audience is eight to twelve year olds. These companies spend millions on singers and NFL players to promote their products and to develop brand loyalty from a young age. The use of celebrities in ads help make the product seem “cool”, therefore by drinking the product the child consumer feels “cool”.  Besides the television advertisements, these companies also put out toys and other incentives for children. In order to be in front of the eyes of children constantly, Coca-Cola, partners with schools to continue promoting its products.  Some even go far as urging infant bottle makers to put logos of their soft drinks on baby bottles. The sad reality of this is that many dentists have notice that infants are being fed soda through their bottles.  

Video: Soda Advertising & Google ad Transparency-

For more information see Reference: Adams, Mike. The Five Soft Drink Monsters: How to Finally Kick the Soft Drink Habit for Good. [S.l.]: Truth Pub., 2005

Olympic Sized Portions

Swimming superstar Michael Phelps once claimed he ate up to 12,000 calories a day while training.  Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt’s sprint rival, says he chomps  down 16 bananas every day, and a young Japanese athlete can easily put away 50 pieces of sushi after training.

Endurance athletes, unlike the rest of us, have the unusual problem of having to work hard to keep weight on. “In your super-high-calorie-burning sports, like distance running, cycling or the triathlon, elite athletes can burn 15 or 20 calories a minute,” says Dr. Michael Joyner, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who conducts studies of endurance athletes. At the peak of training, these athletes are working out four or five hours a day, he continues.

These workouts can burn 4,000 to 6,000 calories, which “have to be replenished,” he continues, “if you want to train again the next day.” Refueling can resemble an episode of “Man v. Food,” with dinner consisting of things like a pound of pasta drizzled with olive oil (about 800 calories), a dozen eggs (840 calories), an entire cheese pizza (perhaps 2,000 calories) and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cheesecake-brownie ice cream (1,000 calories).

One of the biggest issues, is that these athletes, in their quest for fuel, often turn to high-calorie but less nutritious processed foods — Snickers bars, store-bought chocolate-chip cookies, Pop-Tarts. Even an athlete who intends to eat healthfully can be defeated by nutritional realities. “You can only eat so much oatmeal and tofu,” Joyner says. A typical bowl of oatmeal contains about 150 calories, a cup of tofu about 175. You do the math.

Fat is “energy dense” and desirable for famished athletes — but less so if you want to shed pounds. And even on a pizza-and-ice-cream diet, some athletes drop weight during peak training periods.
This serves as a reminder that, despite the idea that one type of diet or another (Atkins, Mediterranean, grapefruit, cookie or whichever) is preferable for weight control.  The human body in constant motion can eat almost anything and maintain or — sometimes unwittingly — lose weight. The overwhelming body of science about weight loss continues to show that weight loss can occur if you take in fewer total calories than you burn. It’s still all about calories in vs. calories out. Eat less and exercise more.

 Go Team USA!